Museum & Trails
The Pathfinder Dam Interpretive Trail is a 1.7 mile trail up, down, and
around Pathfinder Dam.
Walk from the stone house (Damtender's House / Pathfinder Dam
Interpretive Center) south along the county road to the spillway area
and the dam.
As you walk across the spillway, try to imagine water flowing over
it toward the canyon below. The elevated foot-walk provides access to
the dam during periods of high water. Walk across the dam. On the north
side of the canyon downstream of the dam you can see tunnel outlets for
two jet flow gates. Prior to the installation of the elevator on the
face of the dam, the concrete ladder-way on the south canyon wall
provided access to the canyon floor.
On February 9, 1912, five men fell to their deaths while
constructing the ladder-way. The men were working near the top of the
canyon wall when the 1 5/8 inch tramway cable anchorage directly above
them broke, and in falling, the cable swept them to the bottom. Two of
the bodies who had no family in the United States, were buried nearby in
a small graveyard, located off the paved road leading to Highway 220,
approximately one mile northeast of the dam.
You may wish to visit this graveyard which contains three marked and
four unmarked graves. One of the graves belongs to an infant and
another to the postmistress at the dam during the construction period.
What to Watch For
As you continue down the trail notice the black stripe of igneous
rock intruded into the surrounding granite. Watch for wildlife. You may
see golden eagles, hawks, Canadian geese, and many species of smaller
birds. If you watch closely you may also see lizards, chipmunks,
rodents, and snakes.
The trail continues down towards the river where you will
come upon the Swinging Bridge. The bridge was originally built during
construction of Pathfinder Dam to provide easy access form the dam site
to the engineer's camp which lies ahead. The bridge has been rebuilt
several times, most recently in 1995. The trail continues along the
river and east to the Engineer's Camp. Look for the stone steps build by
the Youth Conservation Corp
in the 1980s on the north
side of the bridge.
Foundations in this area show where the engineer's offices
and residences were located. The single standing building is believed to
have been the jail. The area also provided a Post Office, barn,
carriage house, cistern, and pump house.
The trail continues uphill and to the west approximately 0.4 miles
to the overlook parking area. You may wish to take the 0.2 mile overlook
trail to the canyon rim. Follow the road to the end of the trail which
ends 0.3 miles west of the overlook parking area, at the Pathfinder
Interpretive Center and Museum.